Manchester, NH mayor still trying to slow the flow of refugees to the overloaded city
Posted by Ann Corcoran on July 10, 2012
Longtime readers know that the resettlement of refugees to Manchester, NH has been contentious for years. Recently an effort was made, but failed in the State Legislature to allow for temporary moratoriums on refugee resettlement to NH towns.
Here is the latest from Manchester. From the Union Leader:
MANCHESTER — The International Institute of New Hampshire hopes to resettle another 200 refugees in the city through next year, even as city officials say their sometimes strained relationship with the organization is improving.
The revelation last year that IINH would seek to bring 200 refugees to the city this year prompted Mayor Ted Gatsas to issue a harsh letter to the U.S. State Department, which oversees the refugee program, faulting its “complete and utter lack of consideration for the local resettlement community.”
Pointing to challenges many of the thousands of refugees already in the city face, Gatsas has sought a moratorium on new arrivals, and he called on the Executive Council to withhold federal contracts to IINH and other resettlement agencies.
Gatsas has said IINH, which is part of the Boston-based International Institute of New England, has not been open about its plans or responsive to the city’s concerns.
Are they working?
Gatsas said he was concerned that IINH wanted to resettle another 200 refugees in the city.
“My question is whether the 75 refugees they’ve resettled (as of May 31) all have jobs,” he said.
The agency claims 86% are working, however, they play a little game with those employment numbers. They push refugees into any menial job they can find and report that they are employed. Some are let go or quit in short order, but the agency can brag about a big percentage who have found employment.
Then this next bit of information was interesting. I wonder if there are comment opportunities in other states? We will have to look into that!
While the State Department is responsible for approving the number of refugees sought by a local agency, officials coordinate with the state office on the application. The state office is also responsible for disbursing the millions of dollars in federal funding that go to resettlement agencies.
The comment period for the resettlement requests begins July 20 and ends Aug. 8. During that time the state office will seek input from a number of stakeholders, including the Refugee Advisory Council, according to state refugee coordinator Barbara Seebart.
For background on the Manchester refugee controversy, just type ‘Manchester’ into our search function.
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